Tales From Earthsea Coming to US Theatres - August 13

This is welcome news for Studio Ghibli fans.  Tales From Earthsea (Gedo Senki) will be released on theatres in the US on August 13.  Disney will distribute the film under the Touchstone label; make of that what you will.  Personally, I'm just happy to see another Japanese anime film, and a Ghibli film not directed by Hayao Miyazaki, at that, shown on American screens.

There has been speculation for a long time that Goro Miyazaki's 2006 directorial debut would be released on the big screen, even if only as a limited release.  It's good to see those plans properly followed through.  This does suggest that Disney is testing the waters; can the public be persuaded to buy tickets for the Ghibli name, and not the name of Hayao Miyazaki?  True, the son is the director, so they will still be able to sell on the family name, but it does suggest a willingness to nurture the relationship between the two companies.

Disney must prepare for a post-Miyazaki world, just as Ghibli must do in Japan.  Goro-san's Earthsea movie is that first crucial step.  Fortunately, as disappointing the movie proved to fans - Ghibli and Ursula LeGuin alike - I don't think the general public knows about that.  They almost certainly know nothing about the Miyazaki family drama, which flared up rather notoriously during the film's production, and whose fingerprints are all over the picture.  It also helps that most Americans have no idea how badly Goro shamelessly steals from his father.

It was Goro's open theft - his stealing is a virtual highlight reel of his father's career - as well as his airing the family's dirty laundry in public, that soured him to the Japanese public.  It certainly soured him on me, and that's mostly why I don't care for Gedo Senki.  Perhaps when I see it at the local indie theatre this August, my mood will be brighter.  I will try to be more forgiving and patient.

In any case, I will be attending, and so will all of you.  I want to see more Studio Ghibli at the multiplex.  I would love to see The Borrowers on our screens next summer, and I would kill to see Isao Takahata create one more movie.  I'm sure you'll agree.  I haven't changed my opinion that Earthsea is Ghibli's weakest film, but it's so easy to forget that it's a first film.  You still have to pay your dues to make it as an artist, even if your father is world famous.  Let's be hopeful and wish for the best.


MEL said...

studio ghibli made my day - again!
really great news, so lucky now :)

Gnickerson said...

I've patiently waited and avoided watching this film for the last few years. I've had chances to watch the Japanese version with fan subs or even just buy the UK version and watch it on my region-free DVD player.

But alas, my patience has paid off and my desire to see this film in theaters the first time I watch it will come to fruition.

I see myself liking the film. I've never read the books and after 4 years of hearing people mostly rip the film, my expectations aren't high. =P

Daniel Thomas MacInnes said...

It's quite possible that Gedo Senki's reputation could rise over time, especially after American audiences discover it for the first time. No doubt much of that depends on how Goro-san's career evolves. He seems tailor-made for the Prince Hal/Henry V character.

I expect most of the criticism Stateside will come from the Earthsea fans, who may expect a more straightforward adaptation. Gedo Senki is pretty loose and free with the source material. Then again, Father Miyazaki has been doing the very same thing for decades.

I am very curious to see how Tales From Earthsea will be received. Will Americans expect the second coming of Totoro or Ponyo? Will they expect this year's version of Lord of the Rings/Harry Potter? How will the Ghibli and anime fan communities respond? And Will Disney/Touchstone bring the film to more than a handful of screens?

hornconcerto said...

Actually, I think in my case, the Miyazaki family squabble probably *helped* my enjoyment of the film. It's definitely a film about father issues, and I appreciated it on that level. It's not as memorable as Hayao Miyazaki's pictures, though, plot-wise and visually (as evidenced by the fact that I barely remember anything about the story, just its thematic content; and I saw the film, like, three years ago, on an Australian DVD).

Adrienne said...

I don't know. Actually, I can't find it in me to be mad at Goro. I have not, alas, seen Tales of Earthsea, but I can't help but be "on his side", so to speak. Every other aspect of Hayao Miyazaki's life and career is poured over, why should it be just the pretty parts? I think the less desirable aspects of his history are just as much a part of what makes his films engaging as any other. Goro seems to have been a part of the sacrifices his father was willing to make in order to fulfill himself artistically. Even the name sounds like an afterthought. "Goro?" Really? Sounds like one of Godzilla's foes.

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